The Boots

I relate well to the comment made by speaker Barbara Johnson: “Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” I know that if I can keep the motor idling, it will be ready to go when I need it.

For all who are teachers or training to become a teacher, this story is for you. A kindergarten teacher practiced keeping her motor idling. A story has it that she was helping one of her students put his snow boots on. He asked for help and she could see why. With her pulling and him pushing, they finally succeeded, and she had by now worked up a sweat. She almost whimpered when the little boy said, “They’re on the wrong feet.”

She looked and, sure enough, they were. It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off, and then she had to wrestle the stubborn boots on again.

Just as she finished lacing them, he announced, “These aren’t my boots.” She bit her tongue to keep from screaming, “Why didn’t you say so?”

Once again, she struggled to pull off the ill-fitting boots. He then calmly added, “They’re my brother’s boots. My mom made me wear them.” She began to realize how close she was to stripping her gears as she struggled with the boots yet again.

When they were finally laced, she said, “Now, where are your mittens?”

“I stuffed them in the toes of my boots,” he said.

She may have been the same teacher who once commented about a particularly difficult child in her class, “Not only is he my worst behaved child this year, but he also has a perfect attendance record.

A Dutch proverb observes, “A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.” I may never have to worry about having a bushel of brains, but I can sometimes muster a handful of patience. And that should be enough.

And so, we pray: Father, I think I have run into that little boy with the boots – matter of fact, I think I most likely have been that little boy. Help all of us to have patience, especially those teachers and those seeking to become teachers… there will always be that little boy. Give us a handful of patience. Amen.

Grace and Peace
Steve

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